The final few months of 2022 offer the chance for the world’s leading boxers to push to secure the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings. Victory over one of the highest-ranked rivals in their division could make a big difference.
Here are three men who look to have the best chance of locking the top spot going into 2023.
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has been just as effective in the heavyweight division as he was at 200lb. The WBA (Super), IBF and WBO Champion has won all three of his fights at the top weight division.
Usyk will be bidding to repeat what he achieved last year when he faces Anthony Joshua again in their rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. For those who are eyeing up the outright markets to bet on Oleksandr Usyk against Anthony Joshua, Usyk is priced at odds of 1/2 to cause an upset.
The Ukrainian, who is unbeaten as a professional with a record of 19-0 (13 KOs), is currently second on The Ring’s pound-for-pound list. A convincing victory against former world champion Joshua could see him jump to the top of the standings.
A new heavyweight champion of the world 🏆 Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision to claim the heavyweight titles 🇺🇦🥊 pic.twitter.com/lhP1i8K7gn
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) September 25, 2021
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) June 7, 2022
The man the rest of the contenders in the pound-for-pound list have to catch is Naoya Inoue. After a second-round stoppage of Nonito Donaire, the Japanese fighter has a record of 23-0 in the sport.
What makes Inoue so impressive is his power for his size. 20 of his 23 professional wins have come by KO or TKO, which is why he has earned himself the nickname of ‘The Monster’. His most recent success helped him claim the WBC title, to go with his WBA (Super) and IBF titles in his division.
Inoue is now looking to secure a fight with the WBO bantamweight title holder Paul Butler. A win against the Englishman would see him become the undisputed champion in the division. This may then be enough to see the 29-year-old cement his place at the top of the pound-for-pound list.
Three-weight world champion Terence Crawford has been a regular in the top 10 of the pound-for-pound standings for a large part of his career. He is now at the number three position, which some would argue is slightly unfair, as his record of 38-0 is extremely impressive.
Crawford has had wins over the likes of Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Shawn Porter over the last few years. He is now being linked with a fight with Errol Spence Jr, the man just below him in the pound-for-pound standings in fourth place. The winner of that fight will not only become the unified welterweight champion, but their ranking is going to take a huge boost.
Crawford is a two-time Fighter of the Year who has achieved so much in the sport. If he can get to the top spot at the age of 34, it would be one of his greatest achievements to date.
With so much exceptional talent currently across the divisions in boxing, the race for the pound-for-pound number one position is going to be fascinating over the next few years.